Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by Joseph, Book reviews by kids

Book review: Don’t Look Now series

Don’t Look Now: Book 1 by Paul Jennings, ill. Andrew Weldon, ISBN 9781743311233, Allen and Unwin

Don’t Look Now: Book 2 by Paul Jennings, ill. Andrew Weldon, ISBN 9781743311400, Allen and Unwin

Don’t Look Now: Book 3 by Paul Jennings, ill. Andrew Weldon, ISBN 9781743311417, Allen and Unwin

Don’t Look Now: Book 4 by Paul Jennings, ill. Andrew Weldon, ISBN 9781743311424, Allen and Unwin

Series reviewed by Joseph, 9, WA

A copy of these books were provided by the publisher

This funny series is all about Ricky (the boy who can fly), Samantha (Ricky’s friend), Ricky’s mum and dad, and Jack (Samantha’s guide dog). Everyone calls Ricky a dork—once he tried to join the freckles on his nose like a dot-to-dot. (It didn’t work, he just got a face covered in pen.) Every book has one page with a single giant word on it: FAMOUS.

In book 1 Ricky learns that he can fly and there are good and bad things he can do with that skill. He’s trying to get back the kangapoo keyring his grandad gave him after an owl stole it from him.

Don't look now 1

In Book 2, Riley wants to show everyone he can fly but whenever he does he falls down.

Don't look now 2

In book 3, Ricky really wants to make friends with Samantha, the car wash girl. But all his strategies seem to fail.

Don't Look Now 3

In Book 4, Ricky’s problems continue. A flood is preventing Samantha and her school friends from getting their stuffed toys for the show’s exhibition. The toys are on the other side of the river …

Don't Look Now 4

This series is exciting—sometimes you can guess what will happen next but most of the time I have to keep reading to find out. Each book is very funny. There are lots of pictures (black and white sketches) and so many pictures makes it fun to read and extra interesting. The series reminds me of the ‘Treehouse’ series by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton but instead of fantasy adventures this series is more everyday funny happenings.

I like that there are maps at the beginning and end of each book. You can find things like Samantha’s yard, and the Tower and Surrounding Areas. I also liked the lists of things like ‘Things to Know about People,’ and ‘Things to Know About Samantha.’

Boys and girls aged 9 to 12 would enjoy the ‘Don’t Look Now’ series. (Books 2 and 4 are my favourites.)

Joseph is one of our regular Junior reviewers. His most recent review was Figaro and Rumba and the Cool Cats

Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by Joseph, Book reviews by kids

Book review: Figaro and Rumba and the Cool Cats

Figaro and Rumba and the Cool Cats by Anna Fienberg, ill. Stephen Michael King. ISBN 9781743313497, Allen & Unwin.

Reviewed by Joseph, 9 WA

A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Figaro and Rumba and the Cool Cats

Figaro and Rumba are friends — Rumba writes songs for the Cool Cats (a band) but Figaro likes to sing along and Figaro is not a good singer. This book is about these two friends and a little cat called Dora. The Cool Cats band’s best singer (Marta) has a car and Figaro, Rumba and Dora take the car for a drive without Marta knowing. They end up at the house of one of Dora’s friends and Figaro is sure there is some kind of monster following them. At the house, they make a discovery about Figaro …

Will Marta figure out that someone’s taken her car? What IS the monster? Can Figaro and Rumba fix their mistakes and save the day?

My favourite thing about the book is when Figaro has a dream — it’s a sort of warning about the monster. At that bit of the book, Dad told me it was bedtime and I didn’t want to stop reading. (Unfortunately I had to stop because Dad took the book away, so I finished it the next day.)

One thing that made me stop and think was ‘Why would the friends take the car without permission?’

The illustrations make the story even funnier and you get to know the characters more. I recognised the illustrator from The Pocket Dogs, which is one of my favourite picture books and if you liked Tashi, this is the same author as those books.

I give Figaro and Rumba and the Cool Cats 7.4 out of 10. I think 6 to 9 year olds would enjoy this book best because of the type of storytelling, and they will enjoy the illustrations.

Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by Joseph, Book reviews by kids

Book review: The 39-Storey Treehouse

The 39-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths, ill. Terry Denton, ISBN 9781742612379 , Pan Macmillan Australia

Reviewed by Joseph, 9, WA

The 39 Storey Treehouse

I’ve read The 13-Storey Treehouse  and The 26-Storey Treehouse, so when The 39-Storey Treehouse came out I looked for it at my library and saw with horror that every copy had four reserves on it already. I added my name to the waiting list and waited MORE THAN A MONTH for it to be my turn. When I got the library email to say it was waiting for me I thought ‘YES!’

This is the third book in the series and there are 13 more levels than in the previous book. I wanted to know what storeys they had added and I thought some were very clever like the not-very-merry-go-round. My favourite storey would be the Top Secret Not-Yet-Finished one and I thought the name of the machine on that level was great but I’m not going to tell you what it is because it’s better to get a surprise.

It was worth the waiting — this book is just as funny and interesting as the first two, though I still think that The 26-Storey Treehouse is my favourite because I really liked the new storeys they added in that book. The illustrations in this book made me laugh out loud and I really like the colour maps inside the covers of all the Treehouse books that give you a cool look at the new storeys each time.

I can’t wait till The 52-Storey Treehouse comes out in September 2014 to see what the new storeys will be.

Now I’ve finished it, I’d better rush this book to the library so the next kid on the waiting list can enjoy it too. I would recommend the Treehouse books to kids aged 6 to 12 and cheeky grownups too. I rate it 9/10.

Joseph is one of our Junior Book Reviewers. Here are two of his other book reviews: The Nelly Gang, and Maximum Maxx. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by Joseph, Book reviews by kids

Book review: The Nelly Gang

   The Adventures of Nelly Nolan: The Nelly Gang by Stephen Axelsen,   ISBN 9781921977916, Walker Books Australia

A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Reviewed by Joseph, 9, WA

The Nelly Gang (cover)

This book is a graphic novel — it’s a bit like a comic book with lots of picture frames but it tells one long story through the whole book.

Nelly’s gang are Nelly and her friends Miro, Jin, plus Nelly’s goat. Nelly lives in Christmastown in Victoria in 1860 with her Pa who is looking for gold. When he finds gold (lots of gold!) they decide to go back to Sydney to find Nelly’s Ma. But someone knows about their gold and bushrangers are everywhere — like Captain Sunbeam and also Captain Moonshine. (The title of the book made me think of Ned Kelly, but Ned Kelly is not in this book.) The Nelly Gang have to fight the bushrangers.

The pictures in The Nelly Gang have interesting things to look at in the backgrounds. In a normal book you would have lots of description in words but the comic-style pictures do that in a graphic novel. I like the message tree — the posters on it made me laugh. Nelly’s goat (Queen Victoria) also makes me laugh. That’s my favourite character. And I liked funny lines like ‘as rich as pigs in a parsnip patch’ which is what Pa says to Nelly when they are weighing his gold.

Boys and girls age 8+ would thoroughly enjoy this. You learn a bit of history like what clothes are like in 1860, what school was like (the kids used slates instead of books and pencils), what money they used, how people lived in the goldfields, how they weighed gold and what their transport was like (horses and carriages).

When I got to the end I wondered what will happen to Nelly next so I would like to read a sequel. I would rate this book 9.5 out of 10.

Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by Joseph, Book reviews by kids

Book Review: Maximum Maxx!

Maxx Rumble Cricket: Maximum Maxx! by Michael Wagner, ill. Terry Denton, ISBN 9781922077806, Black Dog Books

Reviewed by Joseph, 9, WA*

Maximum Maxx! (cover)

This is about Maxx’s cricket days—it’s all 8 of the cricket books in one book. Maxx has to captain the team to victory against some teams that cheat.

My favourite book in the collection is Tricked. It’s a lot different from the other stories. (Maxx and Rexx find a way to stop The Outhouse Rodents team from cheating at all.)

The illustrations definitely go well with the stories. They make me laugh and I already like Terry Denton’s illustrations from The 13-Storey Treehouse so I knew I would like them here, too.

I think 5 to 9 year olds would like this book because they sometimes have quite big words but in short chapters.

"Undercover Readers Club logo"* Joseph is a member of our Undercover Readers Club. (Download information about the club on the magazine’s website.) A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.